Friday 12 January 2018

Word for the Year

Image courtesy of artur84 at
By Ian Acheson @achesonian

Word for the year?

Huh? Explain that to me.

That was me a few years ago. Here I was in my late forties and I’d never heard of the thing. Why limit your year to a single word?

A few of you might be having the exact same reaction this very moment.

I read a little about it. And tried it. And have continued the practice for the last six years or so.


“Each year, you should choose a word to represent the year you have in front of you.”1

Claire Diaz-Ortiz explains the rationale behind the concept: “Think long and hard about one word that will serve as a guidepost for what you want to do and be in the year to come. One word that will remind you of what’s important when you need it most.”2

I like that: a guidepost.

I tend not to think too much about it, rather talk to God and meditate on a word for a week or so. Often He gives me one of those “Aha” moments that provide clarity.

In 2015 my Word was “ADORATION”, in 2016 it was “DELIGHT” and last year “LINGER”. As I’ve drawn closer to the Lord these past few years I’ve felt an increasing desire for more of Him and less of me which probably best sums up the last three Words. I’ve so enjoyed adoring Him, delighting in Him and lingering with Him that I figured there was so much more for me to experience that I was expecting I would stick with something similar for 2018.
As some of you know I’m working on an intimacy project and as I’ve spent time in the Word I’ve been increasingly fascinated by the many examples of intimacy. Whether it’s God walking in the garden with Adam and Eve (how cool is that?), to David and Jonathan’s friendship, Mary of Bethany’s lying at Jesus’ feet to Jesus washing the disciples feet it’s clear that is what we were designed for.
The River from The Temple
I was reading Ezekiel 47 a few weeks ago where the prophet describes venturing into the river and as often occurs when I read this passage I was captivated by its imagery.
“As the man went eastward with a measuring line in his hand, he measured off a thousand cubits and then led me through water that was ankle-deep.” (v3 NIV)

Often in our walk with the Lord we can accumulate lots of information about Him, but the Lord wants us to venture into Him. Here we see Ezekiel encouraged to enter the river, not simply look at it. But the man doesn’t stop there with Ezekiel:
“He measured off another thousand cubits and led me through water that was knee-deep. He measured off another thousand and led me through water that was up to the waistHe measured off another thousand, but now it was a river that I could not cross, because the water had risen and was deep enough to swim in—a river that no one could cross.” (v4-5)

See the progression: knee-deep, waist-deep and finally to a point where he can no longer stand. His only option is to swim and be carried along by the current.

And there was my word: IMMERSE

“… we can immerse ourselves in Him and allow Him to be fully in control of our lives. He’s not content with ankle-deep devotion; He wants us to lose ourselves in Him, to be swept under, knowing full well that as we lose ourselves in Him we will truly find ourselves.”3

That’s what I desire. To dive into the deep and let Him lead me.

I’m not sure what immersion neither looks like nor how to do it but hey, we’re only 12 days into the year. Now the fun part begins in discovering it.

Do any of you follow such a practice? Perhaps you have a verse or a “theme” for the year that you might like to share with us all.

Wishing all of my ACW friends a wonderful God-filled 2018.

Notes: 1.  “Design Your Day”, Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Moody Publishers. 2016. Pg 15. 2. Ibid pg 15-16. 3. “Reckless Devotion,” Rolland and Heidi Baker, River Publishing, 2014. Day 77.

Ian Acheson is an author and strategy consultant based in Sydney. Ian's first novel of speculative fiction, Angelguard, was recognised with the 2014 Selah Award for Speculative Fiction.You can find more about Angelguard at Ian's website, on his author Facebook page and Twitter


  1. Really like this idea of a word for the year ahead, Ian--thank you. And I love your commitment to dive in deep this year and let the Lord lead you. Not sure what my word for the year is quite yet, but I will think and pray about it. And may you too have a wonderful 2018.

    1. Thanks, Jo-Anne. May the Lord guide you to your word. His word in fact. May it help position your year ahead.

  2. Thanks for sharing, Ian. I'm still struggling with my word for 2018. I think it's "intention" ... I guess I'll have to write a blog post and explain that.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. Looking forward to reading your post, Iola. Funny, 2 “I” words from 2 individuals names that start with an “I” but are pronounced differently.

  3. Hi Ian, I wasn’t planning to seek out a word for this year but then it came to me and stuck in my mind. My word is focus. My challenge in 2018 is to not get distracted by things that take me away from focusing on what I’m supposed to be doing. It will likely mean saying no to things that are good and worthy but are not what I’m supposed to be doing. Thanks for sharing your word with us and I look forward to hearing more about your new project.

    1. Hi Narelle, focus can be so challenging in this distracted world we live. Be great if you were able at some point to share how you go about it. I’m sure many of us could do with some tips.

    2. My post here on the blog tomorrow touches on the concept of focus via knowing and living your goals and priorities. Self control and having the discipline to not get distracted is very much a challenge facing all of us.


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